“You Can’t Take it With You” 1938

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I enjoy classic television just like classic films so I’m hooked on a tv station called METV. Perry Mason with Raymond Burr is one of my favorites so I usually catch an episode daily. I love the convoluted storylines and the less than plausible show ending of the murderer jumping up in court and hysterically coping to the charge; a full confession no less.

I say all this because an episode the other day featured the scenario of the rich father trying to eliminate his son’s less than a suitable new bride; “There’s $50,000 in the safe for you to fly to Paris and get a divorce.” That’s quite the offer.

Anyhoo, that got me thinking about the brilliant, “You Can’t Take it With You” the 1938 American romantic comedy film directed by Frank Capra, and starring Jean ArthurLionel BarrymoreJames Stewart and Edward Arnold.

 

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Cast with Director Frank Capra

 

Adapted from the Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hartthe film is about a man (Jimmy Stewart) from a family of rich snobs who becomes engaged to a woman (Jean Arthur) who speaks her mind and is from a good-natured but decidedly eccentric family.

The film received two Academy Awards from seven nominations: Best Picture and Best Director for Frank Capra. An iconic director, this was Capra’s third Oscar for Best Director in just five years, following It Happened One Night (1934) and Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936). It was also the highest-grossing picture of the year.

I love Jean Arthur’s character (Alice) because she is a strong woman who knows who she is and isn’t afraid to tell Jimmy Stewart (Tony) that his family can go to the blazes because they aren’t better than hers; as a matter of fact, her family understands what Jimmy’s doesn’t, that money isn’t everything and you can’t take it with you. Friends and family are what gives your life worth.

 

Jimmy Stewart and Jean Arthur

 

Alice, sensing that her engagement to Tony will not be well received by his parents informs Tony that if their engagement is to go forward, he must invite his parents to the house to meet her family. I’m not sure what Tony was trying to prove but, he gives his parents the wrong date so the house is in disarray with the usual family “madness” in full view. (I said they were eccentric.)

 

Just another Tuesday night at the Sycamore house.

For me, the lesson of the movie is to live life to the fullest and cherish your family and friends. Don’t worry about being judged by others, they’re probably just jealous of how happy you are and how miserable they feel.

 

In the words of “Auntie Mame” from the 1958 movie.

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“You Can’t Take it With You” 1938

Related image

 

I enjoy classic television just like classic films so I’m hooked on a tv station called METV. Perry Mason with Raymond Burr is one of my favorites so I usually catch an episode daily. I love the convoluted storylines and the less than plausible show ending of the murderer jumping up in court and hysterically coping to the charge; a full confession no less.

I say all this because an episode the other day featured the scenario of the rich father trying to eliminate his son’s less than a suitable new bride; “There’s $50,000 in the safe for you to fly to Paris and get a divorce.” That’s quite the offer.

Anyhoo, that got me thinking about the brilliant, “You Can’t Take it With You” the 1938 American romantic comedy film directed by Frank Capra, and starring Jean ArthurLionel BarrymoreJames Stewart and Edward Arnold.

 

Image result for you can't take it with you

Cast with Director Frank Capra

 

Adapted from the Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hartthe film is about a man (Jimmy Stewart) from a family of rich snobs who becomes engaged to a woman (Jean Arthur) who speaks her mind and is from a good-natured but decidedly eccentric family.

The film received two Academy Awards from seven nominations: Best Picture and Best Director for Frank Capra. An iconic director, this was Capra’s third Oscar for Best Director in just five years, following It Happened One Night (1934) and Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936). It was also the highest-grossing picture of the year.

I love Jean Arthur’s character (Alice) because she is a strong woman who knows who she is and isn’t afraid to tell Jimmy Stewart (Tony) that his family can go to the blazes because they aren’t better than hers; as a matter of fact, her family understands what Jimmy’s doesn’t, that money isn’t everything and you can’t take it with you. Friends and family are what gives your life worth.

 

Jimmy Stewart and Jean Arthur

 

Alice, sensing that her engagement to Tony will not be well received by his parents informs Tony that if their engagement is to go forward, he must invite his parents to the house to meet her family. I’m not sure what Tony was trying to prove but, he gives his parents the wrong date so the house is in disarray with the usual family “madness” in full view. (I said they were eccentric.) 😁

 

Just another Tuesday night at the Sycamore house.

For me, the lesson of the movie is to live life to the fullest and cherish your family and friends. Don’t worry about being judged by others, they’re probably just jealous of how happy you are and how miserable they feel.

 

In the words of “Auntie Mame” from the 1958 movie.

It’s a Wonderful Life!

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“It’s A Wonderful Life” (1946)

iheartfilm is dedicating the month of November to the lesson of Gratitude in films; the quality of being thankful.

“It’s a Wonderful Life” is the ultimate gratitude film. George Bailey (James Stewart) facing jail and the demise of his beloved father’s savings and loan business, decides that his family would be better off without him so decides to take his life.

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George Bailey (James Stewart)

Thank goodness for the rookie guardian angel, Clarence ((Henry Travers) Love him! “Everytime a bell rings an angel gets his wings.” Clarence grants George’s wish to have never been born and shows him exactly how different life in his community of Bedford Falls would be had he never been born. In doing so, he teaches George a tremendous lesson on gratitude and helps him realize it is and he has a wonderful life.

Clarence (Henry Travers)

I bet we’ve all had that moment when we go, this is just too hard and messed up. Some come to the conclusion that life just isn’t worth living, and nobody would miss me anyway so what difference does it make.

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Not everyone has a support person to hold them and say – it’s going to be alright – we can get through this together. I wrote a post about Robin Williams after he took his life because of how he touched me with his incredible talent. I cried not only for his family but for the countless others who’ve lost loved ones to the pain that is suicide.

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George Bailey’s pain was real. James Stewart’s portrayal felt real and no matter how many times I watch Frank Capra’s enduring classic, I ball at all the same scenes. The love and compassion of George’s wife Mary, (Donna Reed) family and friends lift us all to a level of gratitude that just can’t be contained.

Wow! Even just writing and remembering that final scene brings tears to my eyes. Sixty-nine years later this movie still tugs at the heart strings.

What a blessing!  What a Gift!  What a Wonderful Life!

Dark Comedy Halloween Laughs:)

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Most people think of Cary Grant as a suave leading man, but he is also an incredible physical comic. The dark comedy “Arsenic and Old Lace”(1944) directed by Frank Capra is the perfect vehicle for his slapstick comedic style. Grant plays Mortimer Brewster who, to his horror, discovers that his two darling elderly aunts (Abby (Josephine Hull) and Martha (Jean Adair) are in fact serial killers, bumping off those who they perceive as “lonely bachelor” men.

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Mortimer’s aunts epitomize the idea of sweet little old ladies. They can preserves, donate toys to the policeman’s children’s fund, make Elderberry wine. The problem is that their tasty Elderberry wine is spiked with arsenic, strychnine and “just a pinch of cyanide”.

After Mortimer discovers a dead body hidden in the window seat he assumes that Teddy (John Alexander) – Abby and Martha’s brother – has committed murder under some delusion, (he believes he’s Theodore Roosevelt).

But the aunts are quite sincere when they explain to Mortimer that they are responsible (“It’s one of our charities”).

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The look on Cary’s face when he discovers one of the bodies in the window seat is priceless. The classic double take.

 

Abby and Martha have the perfect set-up. The cellar of the family home becomes the burial ground for their victims with their brother Teddy aka Theodore Roosevelt digging the graves convinced he’s digging locks for the Panama Canal and burying yellow fever victims.

And, as if his murderous aunts weren’t enough on Mortimer’s plate, enter long, lost brother Jonathan (Raymond Massey). Jonathon is a psychotic killer looking to stash a body of his own (Mr. Spenalzo). Also, to his annoyance, Jonathan is in need of another plastic surgery because his face bears a striking resemblance to Frankenstein thanks to his alcoholic plastic surgeon and accomplice Dr. Herman Einstein (Peter Lorre).

Oh, did I mention the reason why Mortimer was actually visiting his aunts? Well, despite having written several books ridiculing marriage as an “old-fashioned superstition”, Mortimer has fallen in love and has just married the irresistible next door neighbor, Elaine Harper (Priscilla Lane). The wedding took place that morning which is (and this is too perfect) Halloween day.

 

When Jonathan discovers his aunts’ secret, he threatens to expose them if they try to turn him into the police. When the police come to the house to pick up Abby and Martha’s donation to the policeman’s children’s fund, Mortimer tries to hip them to Jonathan’s identify but it doesn’t go as smoothly as he’d planned. Chaos and hilarity ensue and this is where the monster mash fun begins.

 

And with that, I’ll let the opening credits speak for itself…

Happy Viewing!